European Union member Estonia is finding it hard to retain its talents due to the proximity of other Baltic Sea Region states that have much higher living standards. Estonian policy makers have acknowledged the need to keep talents in the healthcare sector, yet there is no certain action plan in the field.
Analysis implied that most measures of retaining the talents are located on the state level and steps made on the state level determine largely the capacity of organizations. Local municipalities can provide supportive measures. In order to ensure effective policy it is crucial that there is proactive and comprehensive cooperation between the different levels.
It is primary to handle the bottlenecks that drive the knowledge based workforce abroad. The analysis finds that the biggest shortcomings are related to wages, work culture, opportunity for professional development, career opportunities and work organization.
It is important to improve the process of becoming a doctor. It is paradoxical that a country threatened by a shortage of doctors has a training process that is designed in a way that a pause in the process may occur for some recent graduates. Career paths of healthcare talents should be backed up and acceptable second options in the homeland should be presented so that the talents who cannot find preferred residency in Estonia could still find something else that is satisfactory. Uncertainty about their future may affect some medical students to plan going abroad from early on, because the process of becoming a doctor is more flexible there.